Here are five first books for fledgling readers that offer the enjoyment of a good story along with the thrill of accomplishment that comes from independent reading. Written in short, easy phrases with carefully selected vocabulary and plentiful illustrations, each book helps youngsters achieve success as they have fun. The series follows three friends who love to share stories. In each book, one is reminded of a well-known story: Little Red Riding Hood in It's Not About the Hunter!, Beauty and the Beast in It's ...
Here are five first books for fledgling readers that offer the enjoyment of a good story along with the thrill of accomplishment that comes from independent reading. Written in short, easy phrases with carefully selected vocabulary and plentiful illustrations, each book helps youngsters achieve success as they have fun. The series follows three friends who love to share stories. In each book, one is reminded of a well-known story: Little Red Riding Hood in It's Not About the Hunter!, Beauty and the Beast in It's Not About the Rose!, Snow White in It's Not About the Apple!, Cinderella in It's Not About the Pumpkin!, and Hansel and Gretel in It's Not About the Crumbs! As one friend starts, the others are reminded of versions they know so each volume has three stories within one framework. The stories come from around the world, and Veronika Martenova Charles provides a note at the end of each book to describe the origins. Easy-To-Read Wonder Tales is a great first step in developing a lifelong love of reading, and it makes a fine companion to Veronika Martenova Charles's series, Easy-To-Read Spooky Tales.
Fairy tales that may be familiar to many children can be found in various forms around the world. The books in the "Easy-To Read Wonder Tales!" series all follow the same format. Three contemporary kids find something that triggers the recall of a story. In this case it is a lunch box with an apple in it and Jake says "don't eat it" because it could be poisonous like the one in the story of Snow White and you could die. Ben remarks that is not the way the story goes and proceeds to relate the story of "Three Sisters" which has its origins in Greece. There are three sisters and they are envious of the youngest one who is the most beautiful. They leave her in a forest and she is taken in by giants, the sisters found her and gave her a poisoned ring. She was placed in a golden casket and sent down the river, rescued by a prince, married him and her sisters burned up in envy. A similar type of story comes from Armenia and it is entitled "The Stone of Patience." It is a jealous stepmother who wants to get rid of her beautiful stepdaughter. She stumbles upon a sleeping boy and tends to him and eventually marries the prince. The third and final version in this collection comes from Italy. In this case it is a mother jealous of her daughter who tries to get rid of her and succeeds in giving a poisoned hairpin which put her into a deep sleep. Once again a prince finds her and she eventually becomes his bride and the mother burns up with envy. Black and white illustrations, lightly composed (although some contain extensive detail) along with a whimsical look appear on nearly every page of the book. The stories offer an interesting way to introduce various countries/cultures and also to show the common themes found in tales from many different places in the world. The biggest quibble is that these shortened versions often do not emphasize the moral/lesson that was the important component of these cautionary tales. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
VERONIKA MARTENOVA CHARLES is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books include The Birdman, illustrated by Annouchka Gravel Galouchko and Stéphan Daigle. She has studied at Ryerson University, the Ontario College of Art and Design, and has a graduate degree in Folklore from York University. Veronika Martenova Charles lives in Toronto.
DAVID PARKINS is the award-winning illustrator of over fifty children's books. He began his career at Dyfed College of Art in Wales, studying wildlife illustrations. He has been an illustrator since 1979, and drew the British cartoon, Beano. David Parkins lives in Kingston, Ontario.